WIMMERA art lovers are in for a real treat when Horsham Regional Art Gallery’s latest major exhibition opens this weekend.
Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose showcases works from one of Australia’s most influential artists – two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton.
The immersive exhibition explores the collaborative process between Barton and filmmaker Brendan Fletcher when they created the short animated film, The Nightingale and the Rose, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image touring exhibition features a selection of Barton’s artworks, handmade props and a 1913 edition of Wilde’s anthology.
It ends with a screening of the award-winning short film featuring the voices of Australian actors Mia Wasikowska, Geoffrey Rush and David Wenham.
Horsham Regional Art Gallery director Adam Harding said the exhibition was an opportunity to look behind the scenes.
“People will be able to see the collaborative process between a painter and a filmmaker; it also shows how much work goes into creating animation,” he said.
“Barton is one of Australia’s biggest painters and it is amazing to be able to have her work on display in Horsham.”
First published in 1888 as part of Oscar Wilde’s renowned anthology The Happy Prince and Other Tales, The Nightingale and the Rose is a story of unrequited love, transformation, metamorphosis and ultimately sacrifice.
Mr Harding said the story focused on universal themes.
“It’s a classic Gothic story-tale that is all about love and loss,” he said.
Originally conceived as a collection of eight paintings and four drawings, the film has its genesis in a commission by Art&Australia.
The publishing house asked Barton in 2010 to reimagine a timeless fairytale in her signature aesthetic and technique.
A long-time aficionado of Wilde’s works, Barton was struck by using his The Nightingale and the Rose as her inspiration.
“When I first discovered Oscar Wilde’s radical fairy story The Nightingale and the Rose as a teenager, it seemed to me that the character of the Nightingale breathed with the energy of a true artist,” she said.
“Nightingale gives completely of her deepest essence in her life choices. She is a little hero of mine. From the making of my paintings and drawings for the book project, to a three year marathon making the animation, the experience has been an extraordinary and multifaceted creative journey.”
The official opening of Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose will be held at the gallery on Friday, August 17 from 6pm. The exhibition will be open to the general public from August 18 to October 7.
Also opening on Saturday is the exhibition Collaborating with the Ghosts: Belinda Eckermann.
Rainbow-based artist Belinda Eckermann has used small cylindrical holes inhabited by the Bardi Grub located on a Lake Albacutya sand ridge as her main inspiration.
She has worked “collaboratively" with the ghost moths that emerge from the holes to reveal their hidden beauty in stark contrast to their terrifying appearance.
“The work in this exhibition echoes the transient life cycle of the Bardi grub and transformative concepts within the art making process,” she said.
“Harnessing the grubs’ metamorphosis into a Ghost moth, I utilise this moth as a mark maker within my drawings.”
The final exhibition opening on Saturday is Shooting Conflict, which explores how war has been captured by photographers throughout history.
The exhibition includes the works of Frank Hurley, Australia’s second official First World War photographer, John Immig’s images of the Australian relief effort in East Timor in 2000, and artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green deceptively aesthetic images of Iraq and Afghanistan during 2007 and 2008.
For more information about upcoming exhibitions and events at Horsham Regional Art Gallery, head to its website.
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